Sunday, September 26, 2010

No Game

Due to Lack of RSVP and RSVP in the negative, I called off the game for Saturday and went to Inception. It was every bit as good as people were saying it was. The funny thing about movies like this (well twisted plot with lots of room for unanswered questions) there's alway the people that think they're too cool to think it was good  and think they understood the whole thing after 15 minutes into the movie. The friend that I went with and a group of people I overheard after the fact fall into that category. These people have forgotten how to have fun.

I think I missed a few things, and will need to see it again. I was certainly on edge for a good portion of the film.

I definitely recommend it.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Savage Cake

The Cub Scouts have a Cake Auction/Pot Luck Soup Dinner every year as a Fund Raiser. This year, I had an Idea for a cake.

My wife covered the cake with orange (because that's what we had on hand), then I put on a one inch grid. Dropped some Dice and figures on and viola. The Zombie vs Robot vs Pirate vs Ninja Cake was born.

I had the Zombie and the Pirate and the Ninja on Hand, but I had to be a little creative for the Robot; I had a generic cake topper Soccer guy and spray painted him silver.

We included with the cake a copy of the Savage Worlds Test Drive Rules, and Character Sheets for a Zombie, Robot, Pirate, and Ninja.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dicecreator's Dice Update

I've had these dice on my person, almost since I received them. Yesterday I pulled them out of my pocket because I was playing with Handful of Heroes Figures with my daughter and wanted to give some structure to the play. I noticed that the Gear Die had developed a problem, the #2 Gear's edge has popped up.

Now to be fair, I have been very hard on these Dice. They have been in my pocket since April. They've been in my pocked at scout camp, they've been in my pocket in 100+ degree weather, they've been in my pocket when I've been fishing, they've been in my pocket at church. They bounce around with other things in my pocket, and deal with extreme temperature changes, I think they've done very well. The Halo Die is still in perfect condition.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Older Movies

Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a fan of movies. I have a rather large DVD collection—some would say it borders on the ridiculous in sheer size, some would say that my taste is ridiculous. The oldest film in my collection was made in 1911, the newest 2010. Many people mock me because of the way my collection is arranged on the shelf—alphabetical by distribution company (My wife makes sure that her movies are in her own section so she can find them). This, of course, was so I could keep all my Disney movies together. Yes, I owned all the princess movies before I had kids...even before I was married.

I had a birthday recently, I never expect gifts, but I am always appreciative of them. I got a stack of old Disney movies, also I've been spending a lot more time at the library during my unemployment, and the library has movies. As a result, I've been watching a lot of older movies, and I've noticed something. The Pre-Computer Graphic era of Film has a certain reality, and grittiness that the newer stuff just can't hold a candle to.

I'll start with something newer to provide contrast. We got 2012 at the Red Box, since I still had not seen it. Yes, I recognize that 2012 is not great cinema, and I enjoy it for the same reason I enjoy (and own) The Poseidon Adventure and Towering Inferno: I like Cheezy disaster movies. It is fun to watch things get destroyed, it's fun to watch ordinary people overcome the extrordinary. I don't know how they are ever going to top 2012—they destroyed everything in that movie.

We watched Flight of the Navigator the other night, and I was very impressed by the interior of the Space Ship. First of all, it had to be a nightmare for the crew to keep that clean during filming. Every surface was mirrored, which also had to be a problem; when you film mirrors you have to be extra careful, because the filming crew can be seen in them, but not once during the watching of the movie, did I even think to look for that detail. I was worried that that movie wouldn't hold up—but it did.

Flight of the Navigator vs. 2012: The Space Ship in Flight of the Navigator seemed more real than the Arcs in 2012, because there were so many exterior and interior shots that used real props and sets.

I watched The Final Countdown today. First off, how is it possible that I have never seen this movie? It was great!! Not only were the characters great, and the concept great, but watching all the Aircraft Carrier stuff was Amazing! It was all real, there was one major special effect in the movie (used twice) and a few models used for explosions. All the shots of the airplanes, the loading of missiles, etc.—it was all real. When you see the same sort of shots in newer movies, it's all too perfect—even the stuff that isn't animated is all slick and perfected.

The Final Countdown vs 2012: The Final Countdown was shot on a real ship, with real planes. It was gritty and real, it was imperfect, it was wonderful. 2012 was shot with chroma key. The planes were fake, the ships were fake, even the ocean was fake, I believed it during the movie since the visual language all jived, but watching The Final Countdown made me realize how fake it was.

I got some Gumby stuff for my kids (and Myself) at the library. We've watched Episodes from the 50's, 60's, and 80's; as well as the Move made in the 80's (Gumby Fights an Evil, Robot, Clone with a Light Saber!). Is it hokey? Yes. Do I Love It? Yes! Frankly, I find it refreshing to watch entertainment that is honest, and not sterilized by political correctness. Occasionally, there's a statement that is "political" but nothing that preaches to me and tells me that my way of thinking is wrong.

Gumby vs 2012: Gumby's animation is all jittery and you can see the fingerprints in the clay, the people barely look like people, and I love every minute of it. 2012s animation is perfect, they destroy everything, with so much detail that you don't realize how unreal it is, unless your one of those people that don't understand how to have fun watching movies anymore.

The other thing I've noticed about older movies, is that they don't try to shove as much into the plots. They keep them simple, the camera movement is simpler, the effects are simpler, but they don't necessarily feel that way. We watched the entire planet of the Apes series recently. My wife pointed out to me how they dragged out certain scenes. Taylor running from the Apes went on and on in her mind and after a while she was saying (out loud) "Ok, we get the point. Can we continue on with the plot?" Watching those movies felt like watching an Epic Bible movie, in terms of pace—yet not one of them is longer than two hours, and most are closer to 90 minutes (a length reserved for Children's movies and comedies in modern cinema).

But I like modern movies as well. I did in fact enjoy 2012. It wasn't any better or worse in terms of story than the slew of disaster movies from the 60's and 70's. It just looks slicker.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fire Wire

So I had a birthday recently, and my Mom gave me these Fire Wire things. I'd seen them on Woot! occasionally, but I was still a little unclear as to what they were. They are skewers for doing shish kebab, made of flexible surgical stainless steel. We used them the next day.

Thanks Mom!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine...
Nine Players Ah Ah Ah!

My players have been increasingly bad at the RSVP thing as of late (again)—I guess it's time to start offering an incentive to those that do. I hold my games on Saturday. I send out an Invite e-mail for every game usually a week prior, sometimes earlier—as of Friday I had one RSVP, on Saturday I received another that was for two players, and Justin came over earlier in the day. This means that as of Game Time I was expecting four people. Game Time is seven, players are invited to show up as early as 6:30, however Justin and I had gone out to eat and were not back until a quarter to—P was sitting on my porch waiting. (up to Five) 

By the time we got started (a very late start, which was okay) there were Eight players. After playing for a while one person had to go, but another had arrived, so in the aggregate I had Nine. This is by far the largest group I have ever Game Mastered. 

One of the problems you get with large groups is Off topic/ Out of Game chatter—there was a lot of this. Despite that, I felt we did pretty good. Looking back at the session, this is what was accomplished: Three Combat Encounters, A Social Encounter, and an Environmental Encounter in a three and a half hour session. Have I mentioned how much I love Savage Worlds? One of the first Dungeons and Dragons games I ever played in had just as many players and after playing around six or seven hours I only remember two combat encounters and it didn't seem like we had gotten to do much.

The first combat encounter was my favorite. I was using something out of the Saddle Sore adventure book, and tweaking it to my own devices. Here's your peek behind the  GM Screen for this weeks session. I threw one of the creatures from the encounter at them early, just for kicks. Something that I did when I started this Campaign, was to carry XP from the previous game—I should not have done this, because The Flood is written for novice characters. This has led to some combat encounters that just end too fast, and I've been trying to learn how to adjust.

Now the first encounter of the evening was something I just came up with on the fly. The first person to hit the creature, threw a lot of power points in and the damage roll was ridiculous. However, I wasn't ready for it to die, so I gave a creative description that the giant millipede-like creature was ripped in half; the back half skittered off into the forest, and the front half was angry. I continued to fudge it a little like that for the rest of the encounter—It still died before everyone had a chance to take a turn, which I wasn't too keen about, so I tried to be a little more careful about that in the combat that was to come.

Another issue with large groups is decision making. I think I stumbled upon a solution (or perhaps I've just absorbed it from all the Gaming Blogs and Podcasts I consume). Allow everyone to chat it out, but not for too long because, honestly, most have made their mind up pretty early on in the "discussion," and then just call for a vote by show of hands. The adventure I'm using has an abstract representation of the mine/cave system that they are exploring—after allowing a little bit of discussion I just called for a vote on the cardinal directions available. Things moved along nicely.

In conclusion, I felt I handled the large group fairly well—which surprised me, I anticipated a little more trouble. I should also point out that my 12–13 year old Scouts are easier to keep on-task than a rambunctious group of Gamers.